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Environmental Easter Camps, Summer Camps & Halloween Cam

Killarney National Park Education Centre has been running Environmental Summer Camps for 7 to 12 year olds since 2006.

An Easter Camp runs each year during one of the weeks of the Easter School holidays and five Summer Camps run during the summer holidays. The Halloween Camp runs during the Autumn mid-term break.

Each camp is four days long and runs from 9:30 in the morning to 3:00 in the afternoon each day. The children who take part get to experience nature close up and learn about some of the plants animals of Killarney National Park. They will use mammal traps, pooters, nets and other equipment and explore the ecology of the park through many games and fun activities such as scavenger hunts, doing the “un-nature trail, the bat and moth game, treasure hunts, pond dipping, and planting trees.

The children also get to make a number of things to bring home such as bird nesting boxes, bat roosting boxes, wormeries, bug houses and other “crafty” items.

Please ring us on +353 64 6635960 for a booking form if interested in taking part.

Children playing in front of Education Centre

Children Walking in Field

Annual Spring School

Each year since 2001, Killarney National Park Education Centre has run a “Spring School”. It is usually held on the last weekend in April and takes the form of a series of lectures or illustrated talks, guided walks, boat trips and a Spring School Dinner. The talks are usually based on topics relating to a species, a habitat or a part of the landscape which exists in the National Park or in the Kingdom of Kerry.

Over the years some of the talks that we have had have been on Irish woodlands, Irish Lizards and Amphibians, The White-tailed Eagle Reintroduction Project, Wildlife Photography, Bats, Woodpecker Reintroduction Project, Bogs, Irish butterflies and Dragonflies, the Barn Owl, The role of Zoos in the 21st Century, The Geology of the Killarney Valley, History of Copper mining in the Killarney Valley, the Natterjack Toad, The Scots Pine, and The Red Squirrel.

Some of the boat trips have been:

  • Boat trip to Innisfallen Island for a discussion on the monastic remains which exist there
  • Boat trip across Muckross Lake to Dinis cottage
  • Boat trip across Lough Leane to Tomies Wood
  • Out to Glena cottage to look at and discuss Rhododendron
  • Through all three lakes, to Lord Brandon’s cottage to walk “The Old Kenmare Road”, the “Mass Path” or The Gap of Dunloe

The walks are all fully guided by experienced leaders and ecologists who are constantly at hand to discuss and interpret many of the aspects of the National Park as we travel through it. There are normally a variety of walks, some shorter than others and some low level rather than through the mountains.

The Spring School Dinner is usually a four or five course dinner with vegetarian options, held in one of the local hotels on the Saturday evening.

Man With Insect Box

People at Killarney National Park

Guided Walks, Tours, Slideshows and Orienteering

As part of its ethos of education for all, Killarney National Park Education Centre provides a wide range of interpretation services for tour groups of all kinds, including:

Guided Walks

One of our staff will accompany your group on a walk through the National Park and will discuss the wildlife and ecology of the area and the implications for the successful management of the National Park. Walks of varying lengths and for different abilities are available and can be combined with a boat tour if desired. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Slide Shows

A lecture or illustrated talk can be arranged in your hotel or B&B for your group. This will highlight some of the common and not so common species and habitats to be found in Killarney National Park, and illustrate some of the superb scenery for which Killarney is justifiably famous. The presentation is intended to be very relaxed and will often become a highly informal question and answer session!

Ecology Orienteering

For many groups our ‘ecology orienteering’ activity has consistently proved to be a popular option. It takes the form of a scavenger hunt during which time the participants (working in pairs or small teams) will accumulate points and the highest scoring pair will win a prize. At the end of the session the importance of conservation and the role that National Parks play is discussed with the group.

Corporate Activities

The Education Centre offers a number of Corporate activities based inside the beautiful surroundings of National Park. All of our activities and tours can customised to suit the needs of your group. We can connect you with other activities and services in the Kerry area. Contact us to discuss options.

Samples of popular activities below:

Treasure Hunt – involves teams finding their way around the National Park (on foot, by bicycle, by boat, by jaunting car, on horseback or a combination of any of the five choices) by working out clues and finding locations on maps to locate “the treasure”.
Ecology Orienteering – for many groups this activity has consistently proved to be a popular option. It takes the form of a scavenger hunt during which time the participants (working in pairs or small teams) will accumulate points by identifying correctly and collecting certain plants and animals.
Guided Walk – choices to suit all to suit all abilities, could include optional boat trip.
Illustrated talk – presentation and question and answers session on aspects of the ecology of the National Park

Youth Groups

I want especially to have the young people come to Muckross to trail those mountains and to enjoy nature in all its aspects. I hope that Muckross will be made a real garden of friendship…” Arthur Vincent, 1876-1956, Senator and Donor of the Bourn Vincent Memorial Park.

Children Learning at the Park

Children on Grass at Killarney Education Centre


Many youth groups (such as scouts and guides, youth clubs, etc.) visit Killarney National Park each year to experience for themselves the nature and magnificent scenery for which Killarney is renowned.

Killarney National Park Education Centre provides youth programmes all year round for visiting groups. Groups can stay in our hostel for a weekend, week or longer, and avail of the wide range of activities which are provided by us.

Activities may last from 2 hours for an individual session to a fully packed week long programme.

Discovery Weekend

One of our most popular formats is the Discovery Weekend, which is aimed at the 8-14 year old age group. The visiting group will stay in Arthur Vincent House for the weekend and will participate in fully guided nature activities throughout their stay, such as live capture and release of small mammals, scavenger hunts, food chain games, quizzes, pond dipping, moth trapping, use of microscopes, bat walks, bat detection, etc. The main aim of the Discovery Weekend is for the participant to learn about nature and ecology whilst having a lot of fun!!

If you do not require a full programme of activities throughout your stay it is possible to customise sessions to suit your needs. In addition to the activities mentioned above, many different options are available to suit various age groups, including hikes etc.

Contact the Killarney National Park Education Centre via phone or email:

E-mail: knpeducationcentre@housing.gov.ie

Tel: +353 64 6635960